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HE Tale approved of by a great majority among the men of taste. Some treatises written expressly against it; but not one syllable in its defence. The greatest part of it finished in 1696, eight years before it was published. The author's intention when he began it. No irreligious or immoral opinion can fairly be deduced from the book. The clergy have no reason to dislike it. The author's intention not having met with a candid interpretation, he declined engaging in a task he had proposed to himself, of examining some publications that were intended against all religion. Unfair to fix a name upon an author who had so industriously concealed himself. The letter on Enthusiasm,* ascribed by several to
*This celebrated Letter, which was generally supposed to have been written by Dr. Swift; and by him, with as little foundation, ascribed to his friend Colonel Hunter; was the production of the noble author of the "Characteristics;" in which
the same author. If the abuses in law or physic had been the subject of this treatise, the learned professors in either faculty would have been more liberal than the clergy. The passages which appear most liable to objection are parodies. The author entirely innocent of any intention of glancing at those tenets of religion, which he has by some prejudiced or ignorant readers been supposed to mean. This particularly the case in the passage about the three wooden machines. An irony runs through the whole book. Not necessary to take notice of treatises written against it. The usual fate of common answerers to books of merit, is to sink into waste paper and oblivion. The case very different, when a great genius exposes a foolish piece. Reflections occasioned by Dr. King's Remarks on the Tale of a Tub; others, by Mr. Wotton. The manner in which the Tale was first published accounted for. The Fragment not printed in the way the author intended; being the ground-work of a much larger discourse.* The oaths of Peter why introduced. The severest strokes of satire in the treatise are levelled against the custom of employing wit in profaneness or immodesty. Wit the noblest and most useful gift of human nature; and humour the most agreeable. Those who have no share of either, think the blow weak, because they are themselves insensible.
P.S. The author of the Key wrong in all his conjectures. The whole work entirely by one hand;
collection it holds the foremost rank. It bears date in September, 1707; and was written with a view to the French prophets, whose enthusiastic extravagances were then at the greatest height.
* In several parts of the apology, the author dwells much on the circumstances of the book having been published while his original papers were out of his own possession. Three editions were printed in the year 1704; a fourth, corrected, in 1705.
the author defying any one to claim three lines in the book.
The Bookseller's Dedication to Lord Somers.
How he finds out that lord to be the patron intended by his author. Dedicators ridiculous, who praise their patrons for qualities that do not belong to them.
The Bookseller to the Reader.
Tells how long he has had these papers, when they were written, and why he publishes them now.
The Dedication to Posterity.
The author, apprehending that time will soon destroy almost all the writings of this age, complains of his malice against modern authors and their productions, in hurrying them so quickly off the scene; and therefore addresses posterity in favour of his contemporaries; assures him they abound in wit and learning, and books; and, for instance, mentions Dryden, Tate, D'Urfey, Bentley, and Wotton.
The occasion and design of this work.
Project for employing the beaux of the nation. Of modern prefaces. Modern wit how delicate. Method for penetrating into an author's thoughts. Complaints of every writer against the multitude of writers, like the fat fellows in a crowd. Our author insists on the common privilege of writers ; to be favourably explained, when not understood; and to praise himself in the modern way. This
treatise without satire; and why. Fame sooner gotten by satire than panegyric; the subject of the latter being narrow, and that of the former infinite. Difference between Athens and England, as to general and particular satire. The author designs a panegyric on the world, and a modest defence of the rabble.
SECT. I. THE INTRODUCTION. A physico-mythological dissertation on the different sorts of oratorial machines. Of the bar and the bench. The author fond of the number Three; promises a panegyric on it. Of pulpits; which are the best. Of ladders; on which the British orators surpass all others. Of the stage itinerant; the seminary of the two former. A physical reason why those machines are elevated. Of the curious contrivance of modern theatres. These three machines emblematically represent the various sorts of authors.
An apologetical dissertation for the Grub-Street writers, against their revolted rivals of Gresham and Will's. Superficial readers cannot easily find out wisdom; which is compared to several pretty things. Commentaries promised on several writings of GrubStreet authors; as Reynard the Fox, Tom Thumb, Dr. Faustus, Whittington and his Cat, the Hind and Panther, Tommy Pots, and the Wise Men of Gotham. The author's pen and person worn out in serving the state. Multiplicity of titles and
SECT. II. TALE OF A TUB. Of a Father and his Three Sons. His will, and his legacies to them. Of the young men's carriage at the beginning: and of the genteel qualifications they acquired in town. Description of a new sect, who adored their creator the tailor. Of their idol, and their system. The three brothers follow the mode against their father's will; and get shoulder-knots, by help of distinctions;